Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, October 24, 2014

"In Greenwich There Are Many Gravel Walks" by Hortense Calisher (August 12, 1950 in The Yorker)

My Posts on Hortense Calisher

I recently discovered another new to me writer I wish I would have known about fifty years ago.  The sad thing is I know there are many such writers out there and the wonderful thing is I know there are many such writers out there.  

Hortense Calisher's (1911 to 2009- born and died in Manhattan) full collection of published works is over a meter long. (There is a little background information in my prior post on her.)  "In Greenwich There Are Many Gravel Walks" is the lead story in the Open Road Publishing Edition of The Collected Stories of Hortense Calisher, introduced eloquently by John Hollander.   I will be reading all of the thirty six stories in the collection and will at least journalise my reading of them.

This story is set in the Greenwich area of New York City in 1950.  The area is comfortably affluent, there are lots of artists, what were once called "Bohemians", gays and various flotsam.  The story starts with the story of a twenty something returning veteran, W W II ended just a few years ago, living with and taking care of his badly alcoholic mother.   They live from income left by her husband.  We see the interaction and mutual dependency of the pair.  Then the son goes to the brownstone of Robert.  Robert is or fancies himself to be a supporter of promising young artists and a perhaps pretentiously a bit reader of mostly French literature.  I think there is a code meaning when Robert says "one no longer needs to read Gide" but I am not quite sure what Gide meant in Greenwich in 1950.  I am assuming it is a reference to an emerging gay culture but I am wondering if it has a concrete meaning.  Robert has many books and he seems to lead at least a partially reading life.  Robert is at least twenty five years older than those who visit him.  Telling a bit of the plot action, for a reason we never know, one of Robert's guests kills himself by leaping out a window. Then a third distinct element of the story begins.

We learn a lot about several people in just a few pages (the estimated reading time is 19 minutes).  We are kind of thrust in the middle of several lives and situations and that is how we leave.  

I greatly enjoyed this story, a work of refinement and cultural depth.

Much of the work,of Calisher is published by Open Road Media.  Their fairly priced very interesting and diversified collection can be viewed at the link in this very accurate quote from Independent Publisher.

“Groundbreaking,” “cutting-edge,” “light years ahead of their time” – call them what you will, Open Road Integrated Media is a true leader in digital book technology. Started in the summer of 2009 by Jane Friedman (former President and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide) and Jeffrey Sharp (an Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker), Open Road has flourished in the e-book and digital market.

Mel u

1 comment:

Suko said...

Thanks for sharing this info about this writer and Open Road, Mel. I have been introduced to numerous wonderful writers on your blog--thank you! :)